Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 – Arica, Chile – Mostly Sunny – 77F

Distance traveled from La Serena, Chile: 708 Nautical Miles

Another beautiful day in paradise…

Early arrival today (earlier than the scheduled 7 AM time and before dawn).  I had breakfast in the Aqua Spa Cafe today and took these pictures from Deck 10.

Arrival at Arica (Small)

Arica, Chile – Pre-Dawn

Morro pre dawn (Small)

Morro de Arica

Small Cruiser arriving (Small) 

Small Cruise Ship Arriving

 Pre Sunrise over Arica (Small)

Sunrise over Arica (Small) 

Sunrise over Arica, Chile

We are not on tour today because the tours are all very early and we would have to show up 90 minutes before departure (about 6:15 AM).  Instead, since the village is close to the pier, we plan to walk and explore Arica. 

Arica is located just south of the Peruvian border and was founded in 1570 as a port to serve the mining industry in Chile.  This area was captured during “The Pacific War” with Bolivia and Peru (over minerals).  Arica is in an active seismic region.

The town is right across the street from the Cruise Terminal.  Passengers cannot walk directly from the ship to the terminal and have to take a shuttle (a fair distance).  There is no wait for the shuttle and soon we are on the main street of the town.  There is another cruise ship in port – a small (almost a large sleek yacht) one called Le Boreal.  I’ll have to check this ship out when I get back on line.

The most imposing structure by far is the Morro de Arica, a steep rock mountain less than a mile from the Terminal.  There is large status of Jesus and the Chilean flag at the summit.  There is a walkway to the top but we are not going to attempt that climb.

 Morro De Arica1 (Small)

As we make our way into the town, we are aware of a croaking sound – similar to that of a frog – coming from the trees in the square.  This sound is actually coming from birds perched throughout the trees and nearby power poles (below).

Birds that croak (Small)

We explore a small cultural museum close to the Terminal (artwork from the locals I guess – many of the works were fashioned from aluminum and there are interesting archival photos of Arica).  We also check to see whether the McDonalds a block away has free wifi (a customer indicated that it did).  I don’t have my laptop with me but I might get it later.

Arica has a magnificent pedestrian walkway – Paseo Peatoeal de 21 de Mayo – which appears to be relatively new and lined on both sides of the Paseo de 21 de Mayo with nice stores (clothing, electronics).  There is some police presence but it is also a street filled with families and small children.  The pedestrian walkway runs for about 10 blocks or so before transitioning into a regular street.  We did venture about two or three blocks into the area beyond the walk way.

The weather was great and the locals (and some tourists) were out in good numbers for a weekday (below).

Pedestrian Walkway Arica (Small) 

12 de Mayo Walk way Arica (Small)

Just beyond the Peatoeal, we found a very nice and new Day Spa.  Although not much English was spoken, the one hour relaxation massages were 15,000 CL$ ($30) – a deal too good to pass up.  There was only one therapist so Ellen went first. 

Across the street, I found a nice and quiet and cool internet hotspot (400 CL$ per hour - $0.80) that was lightning fast and had a port for my jump drive.  I spent the next 45 minutes catching up on e-mails, chatting with the kids, and checking some of the news in general.  I sent a bunch of pictures from my jump drive (a lot of hot spots won’t allow jump drives). 

Our massages were great and mine ran a little long (75 min) – all the better.  Ellen had gone back to the ship and I followed.  On the way back I got a good picture of the Plaza Colon and the Morro (the fountain was unique in that the layers looked like gears).

 Town Square and Morro (Small) 

After lunch, we went back out and checked out the wifi at the McDonalds.  The McDonalds was new, crowded, and very noisy (the music was louder and more annoying that my local McDs).  The wifi had a strong signal but had some incompatibility with G-Mail.  We eventually got in touch with both kids and checked blogs and e-mails.  It was not the same experience I have at home at my McDonalds (quiet and peaceful). 

Walking back to the pier, we ran into groups of uniformed school children who spoke English, waved, and said “hello”.  Some of them wanted to know where we came from.  Sometimes, no one talks to the tourists but these kids were different. 

The sail away was very picturesque with good views of the ocean cliffs (below).

Arica Sail Away (Small)

The Headliner tonight was Jason Chase, a comedian we had seen before on Celebrity.  He had some new stuff and some of this old material was still funny.  The audience really liked him.

The clocks get turned back one hour tonight.

Hoping for a quiet and smooth night.

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